From blinds, to draperies, to bedding fashions, Covers Canada offers a broad range of window coverings and home décor products.
Beginning as a paint and wallpaper store in 1987, Covers Canada now has stores across Ontario, located in malls and big box retail centres as far west as Sarnia and east to Oshawa. Covers Canada covers the Ontario market in offering bedding products and window treatments across several major brands and product labels.
At one time an afterthought of home décor, window coverings are now a mainstay in the home decorating category. Kevin Fellner, President of Covers Canada, told The Canadian Business Journal, “There was a drive to develop new, retail-based products. Covers Canada pioneered the cut-down horizontal blind in store. In those days our slogan was, ‘The story is the factory’, as we customized traditional blinds. It was a Covers Canada initial launch.”
Acquiring ownership in 2008, Fellner admitted that Covers Canada felt the impact of the recent economic downturn. The timing forced Covers Canada to make some key changes to its business model – adding a franchising model and in-home consulting services – elements that have since become a paramount strategy in growing Covers Canada from a pure retail environment.
Incorporating a franchising component into the Covers Canada expansion model offers exceptional opportunities that foster business growth. Once fine tuned, the new format will be put to the test in the company’s next expansion effort, expected in 2013. Fellner commented, “One of the issues that has kept us in a tight knit area [in Ontario] is the ability to ship effectively from our production facilities to our stores.”
The ideal Covers Canada franchisee has a strong interest in the industry, in addition to the financial backing to support a franchise. But that’s not to say a franchisees’ investment doesn’t receive a high level of corporate support. Fellner added, “As we’ve seen with the individuals recruited into our in-home consulting program, they want to do something on their own, but they don’t want to be completely left on their own.”
The company is also pushing to grow its online presence to capture wider market opportunities. Fellner said, “E-commerce is an area where we’re pretty new; we’re dabbling in it. We’d be foolish not to look at it, as we see this environment as a big opportunity. We’re continuously looking to improve our online experience.”
From a goal perspective, Covers Canada strives to continue growing the company, not only in terms of expansion across Southwestern Ontario, but also the company as a whole in becoming a household name and a category leader in the home décor industry.
The success of Covers Canada is not based on its products alone, but also on dedicated customer service. The knowledgeable staff at Covers Canada assists customers in finding the right products to meet their needs.
“There is a huge diversity of products in this business and, as a consumer, one of the challenges is getting good, knowledgeable staff to advise you,” Fellner said. “Having knowledge and capability on the floor is important. Our business model offers a ‘good, better, best’ opportunity for consumers, because price points vary quite dramatically and product selection and diversity are also key elements.
“A tremendous competitive advantage is that we do an awful lot of things at a great price point,” Fellner concluded. “Our great products allow us to be competitive in the Ontario marketplace, and I think that is a key factor in competing against companies selling strictly online.”
Manufacturing the products in its 25,000 square foot production facility gives Covers Canada the flexibility to continuously offer great products at reduced retail pricing.
“Most retailers aren’t also manufacturers, but it’s something unique to Covers Canada, and that is pretty critical to our success.”